Rutland, Vt. – Nick Guastamachio wasn’t sure which employers were going to be at May Job Fest: Rutland, but after learning about the event he decided to take a look. Having recently applied to a few customer-service positions, Guastamachio used the job fair to explore and reconnect.
“I’ve been trying to find work and have had a few interviews at a few different places, but I haven’t had much luck in getting hired just yet,” said Guastamachio. “[The job fair] gave me a chance to see a few employers that I did interview with or filled out an application for and just hadn’t heard back from.”
Guastamachio said that he also learned about opportunities with other employers, including Rutland Regional Medical Center.
“I kind of thought that as someone who doesn’t have a college degree, there wouldn’t be many opportunities for me. But having talked to them I found out that there are actually several opportunities and there could be some potential.”
Guastamachio was among the nearly 200 jobseekers that attended Tuesday’s May Job Fest: Rutland. The job fair, hosted by the Vermont Department of Labor, was held outdoors at Depot Park in downtown Rutland.
More than 55 local employers attended the job fair, looking to showcase their job openings. In addition to Rutland Regional Medical Center, the Vermont Department of Corrections, Hubbardton Forge, Bayada, and General Electric were among those which participated. While there was a range of positions being recruited for – from part-time or entry-level help to those more experienced and leadership roles – there was a common theme among employers: getting back out into the community is important for recruitment.
“We just enjoy being back out doing things again, after getting slowed down for the past couple of years”, said Brad McCormick from the Vermont Department of Corrections. “It’s just nice to talk to people and interact with everyone coming up to the table.”
“A lot of people don’t know what corrections is about… So, if they can come up to the table, talk with us, and see a real person doing the job… they get a new look at what corrections is about.”
Joining jobseekers and employers at Tuesday’s event was a group of nearly 30 students from the Stafford Technical Center in Rutland. While their interests ranged across various programs and occupations, instructors say these events offer students great opportunity to learn for the future.
“It’s important that schools get kids on a bus and get out”, said Cristina Kumka an instructor at Stafford Technical Center. “We’re trying to give them a helping hand toward a career. If you let students job search on their own, sometimes they don’t do it, because they are behind a cellphone or a computer.”
“We told the students on the bus, just a handshake, being kind and showing face to an employer can have them remember you for the future. That part was lost the last two years, and I think we’re trying to bring that back. There’s no replacing face-to-face contact when it comes to an employer and a jobseeker.”
Sebastian Lennon, a metal and welding fabrication student, agreed and expressed how important these events can be to students.
“I think stuff like this job fair really helps kids get out there and start to actually explore opportunities and gets them thinking ahead.”
The Vermont Department of Labor, in partnership in Rutland with Catamount Radio, will be putting on two additional May Job Fest events in the coming weeks. Next up on the schedule will be May Job Fest: Middlebury (Thursday, 5/19 at Middlebury Rec Park in Middlebury), followed by May Job Fest: Bennington (Tuesday, 5/24 at Deer Park in Bennington).
“With the need that we know employers have, coordinated efforts like these job fairs and other hiring events are crucial”, said Commissioner Michael Harrington. “These events continue to bring attention to the fact that employers across our state need workers, and we have to make every effort to provide opportunities, like this, for connections to happen.”
Complete details on how to register for upcoming job fairs and hiring events, both as a jobseeker and as an employer, can be found at Labor.Vermont.gov/Jobs.
Upcoming job fair events organized by or in partnership with the Department of Labor include:
- River Valley Employment Fair (with River Valley Workforce Innovation Board members)
- Date: Wednesday, May 11
- Location: Riverside Middle School, 13 Fairground Road (Springfield)
- Time: 3pm – 6pm
- May Job Fest: Middlebury (with Middlebury Parks & Recreation and Addison County Workforce Alliance)
- Date: Thursday, May 19
- Location: Middlebury Rec Park, 154 Creek Road (Middlebury)
- Time: 11am – 2pm
- May Job Fest: Bennington (with HireAbility and Southwestern Regional Chamber of Commerce)
- Date: Tuesday, May 24
- Location: Deer Park, 353 North Street (Bennington)
- Time: 11am – 2pm
- Central Vermont Job Fair (with Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation)
- Date: Wednesday, June 1
- Location: Barre City Auditorium, 16 Auditorium Hill (Barre)
- Time: 10am - 3pm
All events above are free for jobseekers, and all are encouraged to attend. To pre-register, please click the links above, or contact your local Department of Labor Workforce Development team by calling 802-828-4394. Employers interested in participating in these and other recruitment and hiring events are also encouraged to contact the Department.